Trump Administration Says Makeup of CFPB is Unconstitutional
The Trump Administration is asking a federal court to rule that the president has the power to fire the director of the CFPB, reversing a position that was taken by President Obama.
The President’s executive power includes the authority to remove officials in the Executive Branch, the Department of Justice said in its brief, filed Friday in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the makeup of the CFPB.
Given his dislike of the CFPB and its director, Richard Cordray, Trump likely would fire him if he could.
In the suit, filed by PHH, a mortgage company, a panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional because it is governed by a single director who can only be removed for cause. The panel said that the president should be able to fire the director for any reason.
However, the appeals court granted a request by the agency to have the entire appellate court consider the ruling.
The CFPB has argued that its makeup is constitutional and that position is supported by several Democratic state attorneys general.
Several Republican attorneys general have argued that the agency’s makeup is unconstitutional.
In its brief, the Trump Administration states that if the makeup of the CFPB is ruled unconstitutional, the remainder of Dodd-Frank will be “fully operative.” The administration said the CFPB differs from other regulatory commissions whose members may be more insulated from being fired since they serve staggering terms.
The administration said that because a single agency head is unchecked by the group-decision-making found in other agencies, there is a greater risk that a single person will engage in extreme departures from the president’s executive policy.